While Major League Baseball and the Player's Association continue to be at odds over a new collective bargaining agreement, fans of the sport are left to speculate about what will happen once the lockout ends.
The Cincinnati Reds made some surprising moves prior to the lockout. Trading Tucker Barnhart wasn't overly surprising, but the return the team received for a two-time Gold Glove catcher was less than inspiring. Let's hope Nick Quintana makes some great strides in 2022.
The more surprising move came just days later when Cincinnati chose to waive left-handed starter Wade Miley. The southpaw was arguably the Reds best pitcher last season, and rather than pick up the $10M team-option and then trade Miley, Cincinnati's front office let him go for nothing.
Of course, being a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, we're surprised by very little anymore. That said, with Nick Krall claiming that the Reds are aligning their payroll to their resources, who knows what the organization will do once the lockout is concluded. What are some surprises the Reds front office may have in store for fanbase before the 2022 season begins?
1. Reds trade Luis Castillo to the highest bidder.
While some rumors may offer an opinion to the contrary, I believe that the Cincinnati Reds will look to trade Luis Castillo prior to the start of the 2022 season. Castillo is the Reds biggest trade chip and the front office knows it.
While it may make more financial sense to trade away Sonny Gray and his 10-figure salary, the Vanderbilt alum will only net Cincinnati a modest return. If Nick Krall and the Reds front office are looking for a massive haul, only Luis Castillo will offer that.
Starting pitching is going to cost you; whether it's in terms of salary or prospects is up to you. The Reds have Castillo under team control for two more seasons, but they'd be wise to deal the right-hander prior to the start of the 2022 season when his value is at its absolute highest.
We saw last spring how slowly Luis Castillo can begin a season. La Piedra limped out of the gate and posted a 7.22 ERA through his first 11 starts. However, Castillo righted the ship and put up a 2.73 ERA over his final 22 starts last season while striking out 144 batters in 135.1 innings of work.
The Cincinnati Reds are not going to sign Luis Castillo to a long-term contract. Jose Berrios, who's on par with Castillo, signed a seven-year/$131M contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. There's no way Cincinnati will offer Castillo a contract with an average annual value of $18M through his age 36 season.
The Reds should learn from their past mistakes and trade Castillo while he still has value. They cannot afford to go down the same road they did with Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. While it may be a bit surprising, Cincinnati should trade Luis Castillo prior to Opening Day.